It’s already time for the first Canadian Food Experience Project
challenge of 2014. How did that happen? This month the topic is “A Canadian Resolution.” Frankly I am having a bit of a problem with this one. I don’t make resolutions. I think there are plenty of stats to show that they don’t exactly work and I don’t see the point of deciding to overhaul your life once a year. I’m all about making changes as you go, rather than waiting until it all reaches a breaking point.
Not to mention it would be virtually impossible to make a food related resolution come January in my family. My dad, mom and sister all have birthdays. Three birthdays means that I have to get creative with celebratory desserts – cake gets pretty monotonous – but it’s not the time for cutting out sugar, that’s for sure.
Today is my dad’s birthday, the first in the que. I made an ice cream cake, because, well, he likes ice cream. Because it has a few different components, I decided to split up the two ice cream recipes, plus the cake as a whole, into 3 separate posts. To begin we are going with the salted caramel ice cream. Not vanilla ice cream swirled with caramel, straight up caramel flavoured ice cream. That’s right, salted caramel ice cream. It’s a pretty good birthday dessert all on its own. The sweet and salty complexity comes from almost, but not quite, burning the caramel. It is a fine line between that rich, creme brûlée taste and burnt bitterness. But by making a super dark caramel and adding salt it really cuts the sweetness. Don’t get me wrong, it’s sweet just like ice cream should be, but it won’t make your teeth full out.
Happy birthday Dad, my favourite ice cream eating companion! What’s even better is that you are also one of my gym-going companions, so we don’t even need to make resolutions! I think that’s a balance we can all live with.
Salted Caramel Ice Cream
Adapted from David Lebovitz
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup butter
3/4 tsp. fine salt
1 cup whipping cream
2 cups milk, divided
5 egg yolks
1. In a large saucepan combine the sugar with a splash of water. Cook over high heat until it becomes a rich, caramel colour, swirling occasionally to help it along.
2. Once golden, remove the caramelized sugar from the heat and whisk in the butter and the salt. After they are both incorporated, whisk in the whipping cream. The sugar will probably seize up – don’t worry about it. Return the pan to the heat, stirring to dissolve the hardened sugar.
3. When the caramel is smooth, whisk in 1 cup of milk. Set it aside on low heat while you prepare the ingredients for the final steps of making the custard.
4. Fill your sink up with ice and water. Put the remaining 1 cup of milk in a bowl and set it in your ice bath, fit with a fine mesh sieve on top.
5. In another bowl, whisk up your egg yolks. Take your hot caramel mixture and gradually pour it into the eggs, whisking constantly to temper them. Pour everything back into the pot. Cook over medium low heat stirring constantly until it thickens to the point where it will coat the back of a spoon.
6. Immediately remove the caramel custard from the heat and pour it through the sieve into the chilled milk. Stir it around in the ice bath to cool it as quickly as possible. Once it reaches about room temperature, cover it with plastic and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.
7. Once chilled, churn in an ice cream machine for about 20-25 minutes or until the consistency of soft serve. Freeze and enjoy.